NEW DELHI: Leading equity indices continued their ascent on Thursday as sentiments improved on strong global cues. However, less than expected job growth in the US and fast rising Covid-19 cases capped gains.
A closely-watched survey showed China’s service sector activity grew for a fourth straight month in August, staying above the 50-mark, while companies hired more people for the first time since January. A similar data for India is due later in the day.
At 09.22 am, BSE flagship Sensex was up 54.45 points or 0.14 per cent to 39,140.48 while NSE benchmark Nifty added 29.55 points or 0.26 per cent to 11,564.55. Auto, IT and pharma stocks saw buying while realty names were under pressure.
In the 30-share pack Sensex, Maruti Suzuki was the biggest gainer, up 1.45 per cent at Rs 7,022. It was followed by M&M, L&T, Titan Company, Bajaj Auto and ONGC that gained in the range of 1-2 per cent.
Bajaj Finance was the biggest loser in the pack, down 1.20 per cent to Rs 3,626.30. ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Power Grid, Reliance Securities and SBI were among other major losers, falling up to 1.5 per cent.
Broader market indices were faring better than their headline peers as Nifty Smallcap added 0.71 per cent while Nifty Midcap climbed 0.47 per cent. Broadest index on NSE, Nifty 500 was up 0.31 per cent.
Nifty Auto was the biggest sectoral gainer on NSE, rising 1.21 per cent. It was followed by Nifty Pharma and Nifty IT with gains of about half a per cent. Nifty Bank, Nifty Private Bank and Nifty Realty registered losses in early trade.
Globally, Asian equities started strong as a sustained recovery in China’s services sector and the prospect of additional U.S. stimulus whetted risk appetite, while the dollar pared gains.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan climbed 0.5 per cent, clocking its third straight session of gains to hover near a recent 2-1/2-year high.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.9 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei added 1.3 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.2 per cent while China’s blue-chip index was 0.35 per cent higher.
E-mini futures for the S&P 500 were barely changed.